« FöregåendeFortsätt »
me to put my trust-these are the gifts of thy grace: and on thee, my Jesus, I entirely depend for the right use of them. Thou must still cover my head in the day of battle. Mine eyes are lifted up to thee, my hopes centre in thee, from whom alone cometh all my salvation. O Lord of hosts, keep me in this simple dependence upon thy word and arm, that I may exercise thy graces in fighting thy battles: and if thou art pleased to give me daily victory, I may be willing to return thee all glory. O faithful promise-keeping God, stand by me, and enable me to hold out, till I finish my course with joy, and my warfare being ended, I may bless thee for evermore for that
which passeth all understanding. Ogrant me this for thy mercies sake. Amen.
If this be thy dependence, if thou art standing in the Lord's strength, and trusting entirely to his armour, then consider, ő my soul, thy safety in every battle. If thou go to war, calling upon thy God to be with thee, and to give thee victory, then victory is certain. Thou canst not be conquered, if thou fight in faith, relying upon the orders of thy General, expecting his promised help and waiting for it in prayer, trusting to the armour, which he has put upon thee. Is this then
thy defence ? Dost thou pray always-begin the good fight, carry it on--and end it, with the prayer of faith ? blessed be his holy name, since this is in some measure thy case: go on in his strength, and fear not to fight his battles, who hath chosen thee to be a soldier. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart. The more bold thou art in thy faith, the stronger shalt thou be in thy warfare: for whatever thou hast courage to do at his command, thou shalt perform in his strength. And why should a doubt arise? Hast thou forgotten, that the great decisive battle has been fought and won. Immanuel stood up, the great champion for his people. The almighty warrior entered the lists with their enemies, and he conquered all their hosts. He triumphed over Satan and the world, over sin and death; and he
led captivity captive. Remember, he calls upon thee to share in his victory, by faith to partake with him of the spoils, and to keep the vanquished enemies daily under thy feet. He has made them his footstool, and he will make them thine. This is thy warfare. And what hast thou to fear in it? What hurt can a dead man do thee? If he has a gun charged in his hand he cannot fire it. He is not able to stir a finger. No more able is any adversary to destroy thee. Whilst thou art trusting to the complete victory of Jesus, thou wilt daily share with him in it. And the more simple thy trust is in him, the greater conquest will he give thee, because he will then receive from thee greater glory. How should this consideration inspire thee with courage-it is for his glory that thou shouldst conquer. Thy God commands thee to fight on his side, promises to assist thee, has provided invincible armour, and has in his own person engaged and defeated every enemy, against whom thou art to fight; and therefore he requires thee in obedience to his orders, depending on his promises and armour, to bring him glory by conquering in his strength. O my soul hast thou not a zeal to promote the honour of thy Saviour? Is not his fame and renown very near thy heart ? Dost thou not think it a privilege to be any ways instrumental in exalting his great name? Yes, Lord, thou hast made me willing to glorify thee. Thou art my lawful king, and I desire to honour thee by following thine orders, fighting thy battles, and relying entirely upon thy promises. I would not question thy faithfulness to them, nor fear any enemy against whom thou hast commanded me to fight. I would not doubt of thy strength to carry me through the battle, or to give me the promised vietory. In this faith I conduct my warfare, and I would have all
my success to bring fresh glory to thee. I know that the courage, which I have in the field of battle, is not from nature, but from grace. It arises from the belief that I am armed with the whole armour of God, and that the enemies against whom I fight are his as well as mine-his whom he conquered for me--and is now conquering in me-and all to his own praise. From hence, Lord, arises my sure and certain hope of victory. I ground it on thy word. I fight in faith. I trust to thy complete victory, and now I am sharing in it. My daily victories are only the fruit and effect of thine. o my almighty Jesus, give me grace to ascribe all the glory to thee. It is thy due. Make me willing to give it thee for the victories obtained for me, and in me. o keep me by thine almighty power through faith, till I have fought the good fight and won the prize. Grant me this, blessed king of saints, to thine eternal honour and glory. Amen.
The believer marches on fighting the good fight of
faith, and daily gains victory over the world. The world signifies the visible frame of nature ; not the earth only, but also the present constitution of the universe of animate and inanimate beings : All which were created good at first, but through the sin of man and the just sentence of God, are now subject to vanity.
The world is become a great enemy to fallen man: Because it is always presenting something to his senses, which is a temptation to sin. It keeps him from God by its flatteries, promising to make him happy in its enjoyments. It sets them before him. He looks, and loves. He gives his heart a willing sacrifice to the world, and suffers himself to be entirely influenced by its hopes and fears.
While man was innocent, every object raised in him some spiritual idea, and thereby led him to contemplate and adore the great Creator in his works: But upon the fall he lost this use of natural objects: They did not as they struck upon the senses, excite correspondent
ideas in the mind; Because the man was alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in him. His understanding was in darkness : He could not see the things of the spirit of God; neither indeed could he know them for want of spiritual discernment. Being thus deprived of the image and likeness of God in knowledge, having no will but the will of the flesh, and his heart being at enmity with God, he sinks into communion with the creature. His
mind is carnal. His affections are earthly. His pursuits are after temporal things. His enjoyments are in the delights of
In this state he lives a mere animal life without God in the world.
Indeed he has within him an immortal soul; but it is apostate. It is fallen from God, and has no more communion with him by nature, than the devil has. The law has condemned it to death-The soul that sinneth shall die--and it is already spiritually dead to God, being as incapable of quickening itself as a dead corpse is. Therefore it cannot attain of itself any true knowledge of God, or have any real fellowship with the things of God. While fallen man is in this state, his earthly and sensual appetites take the lead; and all the light in his mind, and the desires of his heart only dispose him to seek for their present gratification. Outward objects offer themselves to him; they make an impression upon his senses, and sometimes act upon them very forcibly, soliciting and enticing to the enjoyment of some fancied good, and so long as he continues an unregenerate man, those temptations prevail, and keep him from God. He does not see God in outward objects. He does not love God for them. He does not enjoy them to the glory of God. God is not in all his thoughts.
Man has been called a microcosm. He is so wonderfully made, that the whole creation comes under the observation of some of his senses. His
eye, by means of light, can discover the form, the surface of all objects. The ear takes in all sounds. The nose perceives all vapours and smells. The palate tastes all sorts of fluids. All sorts of solids come under the sense of feeling, which is in every part of the body, for the benefit and preservation of the whole. Thus every object in the universe is fitted to act upon some of the senses, and was intended by the Creator, to excite some spiritual idea. But this use was lost by the fall. The impression made by outward objects does not raise up the mind to God, and excite adoration and praise, but keeps the heart from him, and affords a continual temptation to live to the world, and to the things of it. Whatever is presented to the eye, to the ear, &c. can stir up and bring forth evil. And actually does, according to the scripture : For “the whole world (as fallen from God) “ lieth in wickedness," and is at enmity with him; and therefore believers are commanded "Love ye not the “ world, neither the things that are in the world; if
any man love the world, the love of the Father is “ not in him: For all that is in the world, the lust of “ the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of “ life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Mind, All that is in the world is the means of feeding some lust: For which reason the apostle calls it—"this pre6 sent evil world”—evil because of sin, and because of its temptations to keep the heart in love with it, and to shut out the love of the Father.
How awfully solemn are these scriptures ! What strict examination, O my soul, should they put thee upon! Search and try thyself by them; and see whether thou art saved from the love of the world. It is a blessed part of redemption, and it is one of the brightest jewels in the Redeemer's crown. How infinitely glorious is this character—" Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” This deliverance is worthy of God. We had sinned by loving this present evil world, and he came to save us from our sins: It ruled over our hearts and lives, and kept us under its tyranny, and he came to deliver us from the love and